Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14

An indecent assault and battery on a child under fourteen is an intentional touching of an area deemed private on a child under the age of 14 without legal justification or excuse. For purposes of this law, a private area includes but is not limited to, the breast, abdomen, thigh, buttocks, genital or pubic areas of a female or the buttocks, genital or pubic areas of a male. In Massachusetts, G.L. c. 265, s. 13B dictates that the following may punish anyone who commits an indecent assault on a child under the age of 14:
  • Maximum imprisonment in the state prison: 10 years
  • Maximum imprisonment in a house of correction: 2.5 years

Conviction of sex offenses such as this require registration with the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) and at certain levels the public is notified of sex offenders living and working in the community.  Failure to register as directed by SORB will result in a separate criminal prosecution.
In order to find an individual guilty of this law, the prosecution must be able to prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt that:
  1. The alleged victim was not yet fourteen years of age at the time of the alleged offense;
  2. The defendant committed an assault and battery on that child; and
  3. The assault and battery was of an incident nature.

You do not have to face a serious criminal charge alone. Whether you are dealing with potential sexual assault crimes or a drunk driving charge, we will protect your rights. Contact an experienced Massachusetts attorney who will develop a solid defense tailored to your specific situation immediately.

WHAT IS INDECENT BEHAVIOR?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has not taken the initiative to define what exactly constitutes indecent behavior; therefore, courts have taken it upon themselves to create a broad definition. What exactly constitutes indecent behavior is measured by the common understanding of modern societal views. The term is commonly understood as an act that is fundamentally offensive and morally reprehensible to the reasonable person. Common examples of what is deemed unacceptable by today's standards are acts such as touching a person’s buttocks, breasts, or genitals without consent, touching other body parts inappropriate without consent such as abdomen, thighs or pubic area, and in certain circumstances, inserting your tongue into another’s mouth is indecent assault and battery Commonwealth v. Castillo.

THE ISSUE OF CONSENT
In a case involving Indecent Assault and Battery on a person over the age of 14, the issue of consent plays a big role, as the prosecution must be able to prove that the alleged victim did not consent to the touching. However, in a case of Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14, a child is unable and incapable of consenting to any of the conduct included under this law. Therefore, the jury is not allowed to consider whether the alleged victim consented to the touching, as it is irrelevant in this instance.

AGGRAVATED FORMS OF THIS OFFENSE
Effective in October 2008, Massachusetts created two new forms of aggravated crimes under the umbrella of Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child under 14. They are as follows.
The crime of aggravated indecent assault and battery in Massachusetts allows for a heightened punishment under G.L. c. 265, § 13B1⁄2 if the offense was:
  • Committed by a person who was a mandated reporter of child abuse or neglect, or
  • Committed during the commission or attempted commission of:
  • o    Armed burglary,
    o    Unarmed burglary,
    o    Breaking and entering,
    o    Entering without breaking,
    o    Breaking and entering in a dwelling,
    o    Armed robbery,
    o    Unarmed robbery,
    o    Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon,
    o    Assault with a dangerous weapon,
    o    Home invasion, or
    o    Exhibiting a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct.

In either circumstance above, the offender shall be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in the state prison, with no maximum sentence and no possibility for parole, probation or work release for 10 years.  

In addition, Massachusetts allows for enhanced penalties to be imposed on an offender if a person who has a previous sex offense committed the indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 under G.L. c. 265, § 13B3⁄4. If convicted of this crime, the offender shall be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in the state prison, with no maximum sentence and no possibility for parole, probation or work release for 15 years.

By Your Side When No One Else Is: The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy
In the event you are facing charges of this nature, it is essential that you hire an attorney who is committed to the pursuit of justice in sensitive criminal matters. At all stages of the criminal proceedings, The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy provides a vigorous defense against charges such as Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14. Attorney Murphy’s background in family law and child-related issues and other civil litigation experience provides a clear advantage when providing criminal defense to his clients. Attorney Murphy is at his best when helping you are at your worst moment.  Contact The Law Office of Attorney Patrick J. Murphy 24/7 for a free legal assessment of your case, by calling 617-367-0450 or fill out the contact form on our website.
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